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AFS Review: News

AFS Offers Pronoun Stickers at 2019 Annual Meeting

Thursday, October 3, 2019   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman

This year, on the recommendation of the Accessibility Committee, and following the lead of the LGBTQIA+ Section that provided pronoun buttons last year, AFS is offering pronoun stickers at registration. Meeting attendees may attach to their name tags preprinted stickers that match the pronouns they use, write out their own pronoun expressions, or opt not to participate.

Why is this an option?

Because a person's pronouns might not line up with others’ assumptions. Rather than single out trans and non-binary people as the only people marking their pronouns, we can all share the burden and mark ours. Choosing to wear a sticker on your name tag is a way of expressing solidarity with those who feel vulnerable or singled out, as well as of communicating clearly about your own pronouns.

Here are some simple ways to express support for everyone on the gender identity spectrum:

  • Respect others’ pronoun choices.
  • Don’t assume which pronoun someone uses; ask if you don’t know, or consider using the person’s name or a non-binary pronoun, like they/them.
  • Don't assume that someone who prefers not to mark their pronouns is not an ally, or is ignorant, bigoted, or indulging in privilege. A resistance to declaring may stem from a range of personal, cultural, social, or political circumstances. People may be uncertain of their identities or uncomfortable with defining themselves in the available terms; they may hold cultural or generational norms of privacy or modesty. Social or political vulnerabilities may make it dangerous for individuals to declare themselves in a public setting. Native speakers of languages that do not mark gender or parse gender differently may find the specification unnecessary. For some community members and many international participants, the current pronoun activism may simply be unfamiliar. 
  • If you are comfortable with sharing your pronouns, proactively sharing them in your email signature, before public speaking, and in every day introductions – including on your meeting name tag – can help normalize the practice and make it easier for everyone to follow suit.
  • If you’re not comfortable declaring your own pronouns, try “I don’t have a pronoun preference,” or “All pronouns are fine.” Avoid phrasing like “I don’t care” or “It doesn’t matter,” which may sound dismissive of others’ positions.
  • Getting unfamiliar pronouns right takes attention and practice, just like an unfamiliar name. If you make a mistake with someone's pronouns, just offer a brief apology and simple correction so the person knows you are paying attention and trying.

For more information about sharing pronouns, see:


Bonnie B. O'Connor says...
Posted Saturday, October 5, 2019
LOVE this!

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